NoJoMo 13

Now that we’ve talked about being sick, what medications and/or supplements do you take? Why do you take them?

Oh, let’s see….

Morning: Tecfidera, Lisenopril, Prevacid, Vitamin D3
Evening: Fiber, Tecfidera:
As needed: Ibuprofen

I really don’t have a lot to say today. I’m tired, and my body is doing strange things. Nothing too out-of-the-ordinary, but still strange. Almost feels like a cold coming on. Maybe it’s just the weather.

The weather is getting cold. I could really go for a strong beer to make me feel relaxed, warm.

NoJoMo 12

Did you get a flu shot this year? Describe the last time you really had “the flu.” I’m really looking for the real flu.

Yes, I got my flu shot. My primary care is provided by faculties and residents at Eastern Virginia Medical School. I guess they get some sort of boost someway for making sure their patients get shots every year.

I started being seen there just as I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. When the resident I was seeing kept urging that I get a shot, I waited until I had a chance to ask my neurologist. Essentially, his take on it was that, yes, I want to get the shot, not the nasal thing.

Every year since, I’ve gotten a shot. Anything I can do, as a patient, to help, maybe?

I don’t remember the last time I had the flu. Probably when I was a kid. I know I had something similar in 2008, where they gave me sizzurp (

But I don’t know if that was really the flu.

NoJoMo 11

Today is Veterans’ Day in the US, and Armistice Day everywhere else in the civilized world. 2014 is the hundredth anniversary of “the great war.” Write what you know about World War I. Do you have any relatives who served in the military? Anyone currently? Do you have to work today? Go to school?

Oh my. I was trying to figure out what I should write about, here. I’m glad to see World War I getting attention this week, again. It still affects so many things in the world. I heard someone say that it really wasn’t over until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. While I initially agreed with that assessment, look at what’s gone on with the “Arab Spring,” and other places in the Middle East.

So many of the things going on are due to division of the spoils between the British and the French during and after the war. Why is Iraq even a country? Syria?

But, back to the prompt. At least one of my great-grandfathers was an Army officer during World War I. My great grandmother had some interesting stories about how pretty much everyone in his Company went and married during their time (a week?) between training and deployment to France. They were married nearly fifty years.

Neither of my grandfathers served in World War II, both being too young. Both were in the Navy in the late 40s. My maternal grandfather left the reserves after my mother was born. As a merchant mariner, my paternal grandfather was still a reservist during Korea.

My dad turned down an appointment to the Merchant Marine Academy, in favor of an Army ROTC scholarship. I found out, recently, that this was part of the rift between them, and played a role in my grandfather’s absence at my parents’ wedding. I didn’t notice that until a few years ago, when my wife was looking at photos my maternal grandfather had.

My dad was commissioned in the Army right at the end of Vietnam, and served until 1997, retiring as a Colonel.

As for relatives, the only one who is currently serving is my sister-in-law’s husband, who is in the Navy.

As for me, I earned an Air Force ROTC scholarship in high school. Since I didn’t have perfect vision, they weren’t going to let me fly. They were also going to select my major for me. Yes, I had some influence in the selection, but the decision ultimately would not have been mine. After four years of ROTC, I would have been expected to serve four years active duty, but they could have extended that to eight. When I finally got off active duty, I would spend four years in the reserves.

Because of my dad’s active duty status when I graduated, finding an undergraduate school was odd. I was technically a Mississippi resident, but I’d been born in Florida. I tried to get in-state tuition at several Florida schools. The only one that approved me was the University of West Florida, which considered me in-state on account of their proximity to my Mississippi address. They didn’t have Air Force ROTC. Florida State, who’d accepted me, had Air Force ROTC, but wouldn’t give me in-state tuition.

So, as a seventeen year-old kid, I’m looking at paying more as an out-of-state student than taking something here in Virginia, where I qualified for in-state tuition because my mother had worked for two years…. I wasn’t exactly amped about devoting the next sixteen years to the Air Force. So, off to CNU, and try to win an Army ROTC scholarship. Of the around seventy cadets, I think one got a scholarship. Since it was apparent that I wouldn’t get one, I left ROTC as a sophomore.

NoJoMo 10

With a third of the month passed, what are your plans for the rest of the month

Keep writing. Obviously, I think that I do derive some benefit from it. Otherwise, I wouldn’t continue doing it year after year..
Eat copious amounts of food towards the end of the month. Thanksgiving. Duh. At the same time, I have been getting heavy again, and I’m not sure why, exactly. The only thing I can see since I started this latest job, is that I’m drinking a lot less alcohol. Now I want a beer.
Fall more in love with me wife. The one thing I don’t really have to think about.
Find a new job. Seriously. What the fuck was that today? JFC. SANITIZE!

I really ought to have more to say, but I don’t.

NoJoMo 9

Pro sports time — list your favorite teams, along with when you started following them.

My allegencies are all over the map. Blame the Army.

Baseball: Kansas City Royals. My dad was stationed in Kansas in 1985. I was in elementary school. They won the World Series. You figure it out. I’ve been loyal, and I’m happy they were back this year, but I still think baseball’s salary system is FUBAR when it comes to revenue sharing. It’s still almost impossible for small market teams to put together a roster capable of making the postseason, much less winn it all.

Football: New Orleans Saints. *sigh* It was nice being able, after they won the Super Bowl, to go back and link to what I wrote after their first playoff win in 2001. But the NFL does do it right when it comes to supporting the smaller cities. New Orleans has football and basketball. They could never hope to support an MLB team. Look at how bad the Astros are, and Houston is a much bigger market.

Hockey: I’ve tried, but I can’t get interested. I do cheer for the minor league team here, but haven’t been to a game since something like 1999. I only went to that because I got comp tickets. That was when they were AA. The club is now AAA, and won whatever the championship is a few years ago. Then the parent franchise dumped them, and most of the players and coaches moved somewhere. I still don’t understand why Cleveland and Milwaukee don’t have NHL teams, either. My wife is a big-time Penguins fan. I have friends and relatives who root for the Caps. I see sniping on Facebook, and still can’t find the fuck I’m not giving.

Basketball: I was a Washington Bullets fan when I lived in NoVA. They were iffy, then, and got pretty lousy after we moved. Then the owner changed the name, and I completely quit caring. I guess the Wizards were actually good last season, but I couldn’t bring myself to really care.

NoJoMo 8

I apologize for yesterday’s abrupt termination. As I said, I’d been plunking away on it off and on, but really hadn’t gotten it in condition for posting. And I was absolutely exhausted. I slept harder than I have in an awful long time. Home with my wife, full belly, a beer, and….

Well, on to the prompt: If you attended college, talk about your alma mater. Did you have a good experience? Are you happy with the major you selected? Are there any lessons that’ll stick with you forever? Do you have people you keep in contact with?

I attended Christopher Newport University. When I started there, it was an “open enrollment” school. They had one dormresidence hall. Virtually nobody lived on campus, me included. I only applied because my father had met the new university president in a civic leadership group.

When I enrolled, I was looking at it as kind of a community college experience. I’d knock out my general education requirements, then transfer to a “real” university to finish up. Life had other plans for me, though. While I was attending, I broke in to broadcasting, first at a local TV station, then in radio, and figured it’d be my “life’s work.” I majored in Government Administration, which gave me a BS, and decent preparation for law school. I never got to law school, and ended up in IT. Go figure.

My major selection, while it didn’t turn me into a lawyer handling somewhat hapless clients, did teach me about the importance of being able to back up whatever you do through laws/regulations. With what I’m doing now, there’s supposed to be documented requirements, which finally trace down to specific technical features. Any design artifact should be traceable forward and backward. I had to do the same sorts of thing when I was writing legal briefs; the particulars are different, but the principles are the same.

As for lessons that’ll stick with me forever, there are a few. Certain professors certainly affected my writing. Others drove home points, sometimes in an unsubtle way. (I’m thinking of one final, where I wrote what I thought was an amazing explanation about how to handle an issue as a tort. The comment on the paper was something along the lines of “your reasoning is perfect; you should have used the UCC. C.” Fuck me gently with a chainsaw.)

I also experienced, while dealing with a prestigious university up the road a piece, the disparity that exists between “common people,” and the privileged. I didn’t attend a fancy private school. My family wasn’t “rich.” As I get older, the more I understand, and the more I understand what my parents were dealing with where they grew up. (And now I’m thinking of Dan Akroyd’s Bob Dole impression from 1988 to George HW Bush…..)

I keep in contact with a few people, mainly through various online tools (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn [aka Facebook for self-important professional types], fantasy football, etc.). Facebook tends to show which have married, formed babby(ies), etc. I only know of one person who’s in Federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison. I don’t know of anyone who’s assumed room temperature. This is a marked contrast from high school, where several are dead or incarcerated.

I’m going to quit now, before I go on a rant about my present plight. It’s better that way. As for CNU, I’m still upset by a few things, and I don’t have any money to give you. Sorry.

NojoMo 7

Write about your mom.

My mother is originally from a small town in Southern Mississippi. Her family moved around some as she was growing up. In addition to various other places in mississippi, she and my grandparents spent some time in Houston, TX.

She was severely injured in an accident as a child. With long hospitalizations, she really missed most of what would have been her first grade year in school. She had to repeat the grade she was in, resulting in her graduating a year later than she normally would have.

She and my dad coupled up when they were both seventeen. They married at twenty, and were together until his death at 59. She joined my dad at the university he was attending after she graduated high school. My dad had turned down an appointment to the Merchant Marine academy for an opportunity to kill a commie for Mommie in the Army. The war was winding down when he finally finished basic, and his unit was relocated to Okinawa.

This young woman, who’d never been west of Houston, or east of Pensacola, was now in Japan.

It took them a long time to have me. I’ll leave out their struggles; they wanted kids, and weren’t sure it was going to happen. My brother came around a little more than three years later, as she was attending graduate school.

After my dad finally retired from the Army, she settled in to a life of work, and spending time with her family, hoping for grandkids, etc. Then cancer number one for her husband. Get through it, then her eldest son is diagnosed with MS. Then cancer number two for her husband. He’d eventually die during surgery to treat that one. Then both dogs dying within the next six months.

I started writing this earlier today. Hadn’t finished up, but, now mom is over after I took out for her birthday dinner. (And this writing prompt makes sense now….)

NoJoMo 6

Describe a typical day for you at work. You can go total Peter Gibbons on this one.

Let’s see, and considering I woke up early this morning with one after one of my huh, issues.

I try to show up right around 7:00. This floats a bit sometimes, because it’s never a sure thing how long it’ll take to get to the base. I also have to get a ride in, normally from my mother, because the bus stop is way too far for me to even try to walk.

I walk through the various security checkpoints to my work area. There’s a door with two-factor authentication, and a couple more where I have to swipe my badge. The floor height varies oddly moving between the concrete slab of the main office, and the raised floor of the area where I work.

Once inside, I stumble to my eighth of a cube. No, I’m not joking. I have an eighth of a cube. At some point, someone had decided that a “pod” configuration would be most productive. There are four main pods. I’m in the one farthest from the doors. Getting to the work area involves manuvering around people who haven’t even gotten promoted to an eighth of a cube; there’s no direct walkway to Myspace.

I hang my cane on the wall of the cube, and sit down to wait for my two PCs to boot. Next, I check the email accounts I can. Very rarely is there anything really of interest. Since they still haven’t gotten me full access to the tools I need to do my job, I try to look around to see if there’s anything, that would be shown in those tools, for me to fix.

At some point, I make the trek down the hall for my first of many trips to the bathroom.

It’s cold in there, the result of past electronic practice. (If you check most electronic components, the optimal temperature for operation is normally a few degrees warmer than where the overbuilding mastars keep server rooms. 73-78F doesn’t mean it’ll last any longer at 65. Seriously, y’all.) One bright side about the cold is that it does help keep me awake a bit amidst the drone of fans. Many days, though, I’ll have a cup of coffee to try to keep me awake and warm.

Because I have no way to leave the office, I don’t take a lunch. I snack at my eight of a cube. I worry about drinking too much liquid, or eating something that’d mess with my intestines. (Not that my MS drugs help any with those to begin with….) There’s a small bathroom inside the area, but I normally don’t use that one, because the one stall is often occupied.

I get through the day trying to not be hung up on what’s being done wrong. Yes, there’s many things that fall into that category. Hey, they’ve worked since 1996, so that must be the way to do them. Uh, actually not.

I languish away until whoever’s able to give me a ride is ready to leave, finally. Normally, since they’ve been able to leave at some point during the day, this is somewhere around 1530. If nobody’s able to give me a ride, I now try to see who in my family can come to pick me up. Getting a taxi there has been like Tony Romo with a game on the line. If I was allowed to have my cellphone, it’d be easier. But, that’s not allowed, and hasn’t been for years. “Just lock it in your car.” Uh, I don’t drive, y’all. “I don’t have to make accommodations for you!” Uh, yeah, you do, actually.

But they’ve shown unwillingness to do anything to accommodate me, really. This job sort of pays out bills. I’m trying to do good work, but my way of considering things is completely lost on folks. It’s fine; it’ll be over sooner rather than later.

NoJoMo 5

Write about your siblings. Where are they now, what are they doing? When was the last time you saw him/her/them? Are you on good terms?

I have a younger brother, who was actually born in the zip code where I’m now working. There was an oh-wait-a-minute moment when I realized that a few weeks ago. I mean, I was three when he was born, so I don’t remember too much. I guess I pegged his name if he was a boy, though. My mother used to tell stories about how I really wanted them to name him, “Brian.” When they put him on display in the nursery, I guess that was his not-yet-official name tag. My parents didn’t name him that, though.

He is living in Texas, after his wife’s company moved them out there. Cowboys’ fans galore, but you married one, bro.

I guess the last time I would have seen him would have been sometime this summer, before they left the East Coast.

We are on decent terms. High school was tough. He and my longtime high school girlfriend didn’t really get along (well, that was true for she and pretty much everybody else in my family). His high school girlfriend, who he ended up marrying, well, I’ll shuttup. That’s over. His second wife is great, and I’m happy they’re doing well. Even if it is in Dallas.

NoJoMo 4

Since it’s Election Day, when did you first vote? Did you vote today? Have your political opinions changed as you’ve aged?

1999, maybe? There was some weirdness with me getting registered in Virginia, so I think I missed the general election that year. It’s only 1030, and I’m off work. I plan to take my wife, a first-time voter, over this afternoon after my couple of midday meetings. I’ve pretty much made up my mind, and will be voting for candidates from the two political parties. I won’t be voting Libertarian, because, once again, the candidate the LP is running in the biggest race seems more concerned with getting high than doing the basics of governing.

No matter what you think of Bill Clinton or George W. Bush, both were good at making sure the Federal government did the things it was supposed to do. In the past few years, however, that’s gone away. IOW, I won’t be voting to reinforce a Senate leadership who’ve completely punted on the budgeting process. There is one smug guy from the desert to blame.

As for my own political beliefs, yes, there’s been a change. I’ve become a lot more moderate as I’ve aged. One of my friends from college pretty well nailed it when he described government under me — everyone would get what they needed, but nobody would be happy about it. I do have a very egalitarian streak, but I also see the value in following the rules from top to bottom.

On the major issues, I’ve rethought many positions I once held. The latest? Capital punishment. I am now, pretty firmly, against the state having the power to take life. I realize that getting rid of it, completely, would require an amendment to the Constitution.

I support universal health care. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a disaster, though. It’s legislation artfully crafted to try to protect party politicians, while, simultaneously avoiding offending organized labor. Disaster. I still think a single-payer insurance system, with the ability to purchase auxiliary or alternative insurance, and a purely private delivery system is best. Note that that is not a single-provider system like the British NHS, the VA, etc. Roberts’ opining upholding “Obamacare” did not really help resolve the issues. But it did absolutely destroy a misreading of what Congress can do under the Commerce Clause.

I’ve written enough. This afternoon, I’ll go vote against some people, and vote for only one. That’s been the story for me the past few elections.